Brighton’s sixth annual zombie walk on Saturday the 20th of October was a great success. Around 6,000 people attended the ‘Beach of the Dead’ event dressed as all sorts of zombies, compared to around 4,000 last year. Nearly as many people lined the streets to watch the walk and take photographs. People of all ages took part to make the parade the biggest so far in the event’s history.
Those that participated walked for approximately two hours from West Pier to Concorde 2, dressing up as a variety of characters and professions. Amber Bancroft, 16, who went as a Wonder Woman Zombie, said: “This year’s zombie walk was brilliant. Everyone was so inventive with their costumes. This was my fifth year going.” The route of the walk had changed from last year; It used to begin at Victoria Gardens, much to some disappointment, and Amber was one of those: ”I think this year’s route wasn’t very good as it was quite small and cramped but everyone’s acting and excitement made up for it. Every year has been as good as the last and I can’t believe how big the crowd is getting.”
Students, children, families and even dogs took part in the parade this October, which has become a yearly tradition for some. Rowan Gill, one of the attendees, says: “For us, the zombie walk is a family affair. This year, there were four generations of us as my friend brought their eighty-year-old mum too…It’s all round good fun…Everyone loves to dress up, particularly as legions of the undead.”
Beach of the Dead was started in 2007 by Katie Amer, a 24 year old administrator with no experience of event organising, with an attendance of only 40 people in its first year. Katie says: “Beach of the Dead happened late one September evening in 2007. I was unsatisfied with the events over the Halloween period. I love dressing up and of course zombie films so the rest is pretty much history. I opened an account for Beach of the Dead on Myspace and started getting interest. Beach of the Dead was born.”
Since then the event has become one of the biggest on Brighton’s calendar. It is funded by donations from the public every year to pay for the Stewards required by Brighton and Hove City Council for it to take place. Amber says: “Katie Amer is brilliant at what she does, and without her there wouldn’t be this fantastic event each year.”
When asked if health and safety gets in the way of the event, Katie Amer says: “Yes, Beach Of The Dead works extremely closely with Brighton & Hove Council, Sussex Police & Select Security & Stewarding Ltd… This year, due to the rising number of participants, a lot of planning – more so than usual – went on behind the scenes.” She also explained why the route had to be changed; “Every year the route is amended slightly, be it had to cut out the number of busy main roads we cross for safety or if the start location is too small, [such as Brighton station which was used from 2007-2010]. This year we met at The Old Paddling Pool site. That worked really well and we aim to use this location again in the future.”